‘You’re Lucky If You're Here!’
First year student Anna Zheltoukhova talks about her King's College London exchange experience.
This summer six first year students of the programme ‘Comparative Politics of Eurasia’ got the opportunity to participate in an exchange programme at King’s College London, one of our programme's partner universities. We have already posted Guilherme Costa Gomes’s report and now we share Anna Zheltoukhova’s impressions with you.
‘London is the capital of Great Britain’—this is the most famous sentence of English textbooks published in Russia. This year London turned out to be much more than just the UK capital, where I can have my favourite Lucky Charms cereal and huge servings of English breakfast. In the research programme at King’s College of London (KCL), we - first-year students of the ‘Comparative Politics of Eurasia’ programme - not only got access to an enormous amount of articles and books that are difficult (read: impossible) to find online, but also got to interact with professors and students who, to varying degrees, also do work on our thesis topics.
The mentors from the Russian Institute were appointed to us from the very beginning, and they encouraged us to look at our research in a different way. In addition, one of the host professors here, Samuel Green, gave us a presentation of KCL student research to give us an opportunity to get inspired and come up with new ideas. Without a doubt, this conference helped us broaden our knowledge of and delve deeper into our respective research areas.
The library, where our team spends our weekdays, works 24/7 to create all the necessary conditions for studying. Having plenty of working seats, special discussion rooms, and databases in which we can access articles and other published materials, turned out to be a huge motivation for studying all the day long. For example, one can check out a book and study it at home at one’s pace—this is something I've seldom encountered in Russian libraries, at least in Saint Petersburg.
One shouldn't forget about having fun, though. Since the library and university are located in the very centre of London, we have a chance to visit the renowned museums (either almost or totally for free), to have a walk alongside Thames or have a lunch in a park. One can take a trip to a town nearby on the weekend: for example, to Brighton with its access to the sea, or to inspiring and historical York with the wonderful little shops where they sell fudge in every flavour you can imagine!
I still can't believe we got this chance to immerse ourselves in the scholarly atmosphere of one of the best universities of the country, and also spend time in an exciting city with a tremendous cultural life. After a month in London, I can say without reservations: ‘You’re lucky if you're here!’
Text by Anna Zheltoukhova